Affordable Care Act

With this year's deadline to register for individual health insurance just a weekend away, much attention is being lavished on two numbers — the 6 million Americans who have signed up so far, and the percentage of those folks who are (or aren't) young.

But experts say the national numbers actually don't mean very much.

With only four days left before the March 31 enrollment deadline, the White House is kicking into high gear trying to round up more Affordable Care Act enrollees – and Louisiana got special attention Thursday.

Why? Enrollment in the federal healthcare exchange there has lagged behind other states and, perhaps as important, citizens are getting bombarded with anti-ACA ads as Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu gears up for a tight race in November.

We're just five days away from the March 31 deadline to sign up for individual health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. For weeks, administration officials, including the president, have insisted that there would be no extensions to the scheduled end of the six-month open enrollment period.

But now there's some wiggle room. Let's review, shall we?

Start with the key question: Is Monday still the deadline?

There was a clear difference of opinion between male and female justices at the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday. The issue was whether for-profit corporations, citing religious objections, may refuse to include contraception coverage in the basic health plan now mandated under the Affordable Care Act.

The female justices were clearly supportive of the contraception mandate, while a majority of the male justices were more skeptical.

There's just one week left for most people to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act. And as people race to meet the deadline, they still have questions about the law, and the sign-up process.

"Is there a deadline to enroll in a health plan?" asks Josephine Ilog of Manteca, Calif. "And what happens if a person misses that deadline?"

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. The Obama administration announced yesterday that 5 million Americans have now enrolled in the Affordable Care Act, and that might be surprising news for some who tried to sign up and were met by major website problems early in the rollout. If you are not one of those 5 million, you still have about two weeks to sign up or figure out if you might be able to stay in a plan you already have.

Sen. Ben Nevers joins the show to talk with Jim about his bill for Medicaid reform.

Sen. Robert Adley talks with Jim about the Levee lawsuit bill.

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe talks about health care reform success in Arkansas. 

Visit Baton Rouge CEO, Paul Arrigo joins the show with ground breaking news! Miss 2014 USA pageant will make its debut in Baton Rouge.

2014 is the first year most Americans will have to either have health insurance or face a tax penalty.

But most people who are aware of the penalty think it's pretty small, at least for this first year. And that could turn into an expensive mistake.

Now that medical insurers must accept all applicants no matter how sick, what will these new customers cost health plans? And how will their coverage costs affect insurance prices for 2015 and beyond?

Few questions about the Affordable Care Act are more important. How it all plays out will affect consumer pocketbooks, insurance company profits and perhaps the political fortunes of those backing the health law.

A few Denver actuaries, bound to confidentiality, will be the first to glimpse the answers.

With a bit more than a month left for people to sign up for health insurance plans set up under the Affordable Care Act, the federal website known as HealthCare.gov finally seems to be working smoothly — in 36 states.

But what's happening in the 14 states that are running their own exchanges?

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